Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Crazy Judge Wins Partial Victory
Chungs Close Custom Cleaners

The Chungs, South Korean immigrants who made the mistake of opening their dry cleaning establishments in Washington, D.C.

The trouble started when Judge Roy L. Pearson said that Soo Chung and her husband, Jin Nam Chung, had lost his pants.

Those pants were worth $67,000,000 to Judge Pearson. He lowered his demand to $54,000,000 later, and dragged the Chungs through court for the next two years.

The administrative judge claimed that the Chung's "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service" signs were misleading and fraudulent.

The Chungs' Custom Cleaners is closing now. They had three businesses when the lawsuit started. Now they've closed two.

Happily, the Chungs have been able to pay their $100,000 in legal expenses, thanks to fund raisers and donations.

The problem wasn't so much the monetary drain of the trials. The ordeal drained the Chungs emotionally. And, more to the point, they lost customers and revenue.

I don't know what other business owners can learn from this.

"Don't accept insane judges as customers" is not a practical policy.

Advocating some sort of control over frivolous lawsuits may be a reasonable long-term objective. We'll always have people in positions of power and influence whose heads are a giant economy size bag of mixed nuts. But in principle, it should be able to contain the damage they do.

I could be wrong about the next point, but it's worth repeating in this post. The city in which the Chungs had their business was heavily dominated by the same ethnic group as Judge Pearson's. The Chungs, as Koreans, were very much not of the same ethnic group.

The point has been studiously ignored, for the most part, but I wonder if a lesson to be learned here is: don't set up a business where your ethnicity makes you stand out. I hope I'm wrong about that.

Previous posts about the dry cleaners' legal difficulties on this blog:

And, a few other blogs on Judge Roy Pearon's vendetta against the Koreans:

1 comment:

Brigid said...

I can't believe no one has commented on this yet.

It's really too bad about the Chungs. And I hope that judge chokes on his winnings.

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